‘Fans want Wenger sacked’ reads the Daily Mail’s back-page headline.
Somebody should have mentioned it.
If you find an analogy, stick with it
Mediawatch isn’t saying that The Sun’s Neil Ashton’s eyes lit up when Arsenal’s coach turned up late at Selhurst Park, but…
‘Driven to despair’
‘It is the end of the road for Arsene Wenger.’
‘This is a V8 petrol engine and Wenger is filling it with diesel.’
‘Here they ran on fumes.’
‘Crystal Palace shunted them off the road.’
‘The Gunners need a new face at the wheel, an upgrade on these alloys and a fetching respray.’
‘They have broken down again.’
‘It will take a damn good mechanic to open up the bonnet to fix the god-awful mess Wenger has left them in.’
‘He has made running repairs to this club.’
‘They had their faces smeared in elbow grease.’
‘He is crawling along in the slow lane now.’
‘The Premier League has overtaken Wenger.’
‘They are living in the fast lane again, pulling away from the teams at the foot of the table after this thumping victory.’
‘Sadly, for Arsenal, they need a driver who knows what he is doing.’
Too much? Course not.
— MailOnline Sport (@MailSport) April 11, 2017
Because that’s the sodding answer to this crisis. Still, lovely way of selling a match report on an Under-23 game.
The big question
You might consider the future of Arsene Wenger to be the big talking point after Arsenal’s capitulation at the hands of Crystal Palace, but not according to The Sun. The top story on their football homepage at 11.30am asked:
‘Crystal Palace players enjoy the moment in front of their own fans after thrashing Arsenal 3-0…but who’s the bald man dancing away?’
Truly the question for the ages.
It was ex-Crystal Palace player Sasa Curcic, by the way. He’s probably not going to replace Wenger as Arsenal manager.
A decline, through the prism of John Cross
‘Fair play. Arsenal have gone for it. Summer spending will be close to £90m with Perez to be confirmed first then Mustafi in next few days’ – August 26, 2016.
‘I think Mustafi has the makings of a top signing for Arsenal. Big statement and big day for the club. Very busy and good day’s work’ – August 30, 2016.
‘Think Jonny Evans would have been a better buy than Mustafi’ – March 18, 2017.
‘He’s had a complete nightmare. Are we sure he’s a German international’ – April 1, 2017.
Things have not gone well for Shkodran Mustafi.
The Adams family
You can understand why autobiography ghostwriters might have a blind loyalty towards their subjects. But when journalist Ian Ridley, author of Tony Adams’ superb autobiography, got a little p*ssy with people expressing surprise at Adams’ appointment by Granada, it was all a little bit much.
‘Those surprised at Tony Adams @GranadaCdeF_en interim appointment looking inward. Good reputation as coach/sporting director in Europe,’ Ridley tweeted on Monday, to which the instant reply was ‘Yeah, but come on.’
— Ian Ridley (@IanRidley1) April 10, 2017
Even if you consider Adams’ appointment at Granada to be sensible, ‘Know what he’s done in Holland or Azerbaijan’ is some glorious optimism from Ridley.
In Holland, Adams was employed as a low-level coach at Feyenoord for a few months and worked as a part-time scout for Arsenal. He was then employed in a similar role by Utrecht, but left after two months.
In Azerbaijan, he was appointed as Gabala manager, led them to seventh in a league of 12 and thus the relegation group post-split, and left his job as manager after 17 months in charge.
In fact, you might consider it more than coincidence that Adams has been appointed by Granada. Their owner is Jiang Lizhang, you see, who also appointed Adams as sporting director of Chongqing Lifan in China.
Wycombe, Portsmouth, Gabala, Granada. But yes, Adams certainly got that first managerial job in six years, in La Liga, on merit. And anyone who suggests otherwise knows nothing.
The going rate
Here’s The Sun’s Neil Ashton, very reasonably slating Shkodran Mustafi:
‘How Shkodran Mustafi gets a game at this level, at this intensity, is beyond comprehension. There is not a soul on earth who could make a case for this fella being a top-four defender. Nowhere near.
‘He should have been sent off in the opening 20 minutes, with one booking for chopping Benteke and another for clattering into the flying Townsend. Instead, referee Michael Oliver went soft and overlooked his first, naughty little challenge on Big Ben. This game was not for him.’
Over to The Sun’s Dream Team ratings, in which only three players on the pitch were rated higher than Mustafi. The German was also Arsenal’s best player.
It’s time to look at that ratings system, guys.
Stan Collymore is yer da
‘Lingard can sit there pulling dopey faces on Instagram and Twitter, earning £100,000 a week and only be called on 15 times a season. How great is that?’ writes Stan Collymore in his Daily Mirror column.
Lingard has played 30 times for Manchester United so far this season. But while we’re chucking around accusations about being paid money for little effort…
C-c-called a U-turn #1
‘Dele Alli should learn from the best – moving to Real Madrid or Barcelona could make him a superstar’ – Stan Collymore, Daily Mirror, January 8.
‘Dele Alli’s a thoroughbred and can become world-class – if he stays at Tottenham’ – Stan Collymore, Daily Mirror, April 8.
See last line above.
C-c-called a U-turn #2
‘He’s a very special character, a bit like a Gareth Bale, and he could take a lot of it on his shoulders… Alli could prove – and this is really important – to be bracketed alongside those mercurial midfielders who come from across the Continent, such as Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Eden Hazard, David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne’- Stan Collymore, Daily Mirror, January 8.
‘Alli turns 21 this week and has played his part in the same number of Premier League goals before that landmark birthday – 40 – as Lampard, Gerrard and David Beckham combined, which has sparked the latest comparisons. They are great players of their time. With Alli, what we need to do is say this lad is a very good attacking midfielder and leave him there, whether that is for England or Tottenham’ – Stan Collymore, Daily Mirror, April 8.
See last line two sections above.
Quote of the day
“All we can do is apologise for that performance tonight I think they just wanted it more. You could tell they wanted it more. You could sense that from the kick-off” – Arsenal captain Theo Walcott.
Want it more? Nah. Prepare better? Nah. Lead the team? Nah. All you can do is apologise, Theo.
Worst headline of the day
‘14 damning moments that summed up Arsenal’s humiliating defeat to Crystal Palace’ –
Buzzfeed Daily Telegraph.
One of those 14 ‘moments’ is ‘Hector Bellerin arriving with two washbags’, while others include ‘Arsenal’s form since February’, ‘Alexis Sanchez’ and ‘Granit Xhaka’s performance’; do the Telegraph understand what a ‘moment’ is? None of Crystal Palace’s three goals got a mention.
That is the Telegraph’s top story at 12.00pm.
Recommended reading of the day
Rory Smith on Paulo Dybala.
David Squires on Atletico Madrid vs Leicester.
Stuart James on Thomas Tuchel.